Here's a look at some of the most popular models.
- Apple Computer: A multimedia model with a built-in speaker and integrated microphone, the Macintosh PowerBook 5300ce/117k has CD-quality sound and is compatible with DOS and Windows when running emulation software. Memory is expandable to 64MB RAM. PC card slots let you add a modem, memory or Ethernet networking. A hot-swapping ability lets you switch batteries or other devices without shutting down.
- Compaq: This company has no fewer than 10 SVGA portable notebooks. The Armada 4100 notebook series is on the lower end and offers something for everyone, whether you need a multimedia model or simply a top-rate SVGA model. Options to add include a modem, a CD-ROM drive, a trackball, an adapter and a battery charger.
Compaq's LTE 5150, 5250, 5280, 5300 and 5380 models are a little pricier, with appropriately more features including 2.16GB hard drives. Setting these slimline machines apart from many others is their flexibility with a mix-and-match concept that offers three different configurations.
- Digital Equipment Corp.: A mere 1.1 inches thick, the HiNote Ultra IIs are some of the slimmest notebooks around yet still offer full-sized keyboards with a trackball, an 11.3-inch screen, two external docking ports, an external port for a mouse or keyboard, built-in speakers and microphone, and expandability to 56MB RAM. There are four SVGA models with pre-loaded software that includes a network management program.
- Hewlett Packard: The OmniBook 5500 series features sophisticated machines whose high-end models have 12.1-inch SVGA display screens. Features include hot-swapping, a built-in microphone and jack, headphones and stereo speakers, a docking station connector, onboard mouse buttons, a TrackPoint pointing device, a VCR connector, and an optional, removable CD-ROM drive.
- IBM: Two of the ThinkPad 560 series have big SVGA screens--12.1 inches--and full-sized keyboards, yet weigh just over 4 pounds. The base model has an 11.3-inch screen; all have floppy disk and audio ports. For desktop use, the ThinkPad 560 plugs into a port replicator. ThinkPads include 810MB or 1.08GB hard drives, 8MB RAM expandable to 40MB, and long-lasting lithium-ion batteries.
- NEC Technologies: Among the most sophisticated SVGA notebooks on the market are the Versa 6000H, Versa 6030H and Versa 6030X. They exceed the standard SVGA 800-x-600-dpi resolution, with the high-end model giving you 1024 x 780 dpi. Prices vary depending on screen size, storage capacity and performance. All have built-in modems, touchpads, CD-ROM drives, 1.08GB hard drives, floppy drives and docking capabilities.
- Sharp Electronics: Affordable, fast and fully featured, the PC-3030 and PC-3070 have built-in audio, infrared and pointing device capabilities for presentations; a touchpad for lefties or righties; and expansion capabilities for CD-ROM drives, video cards and fax modems. The PC-3030 has 8MB memory; the PC-3070, 16MB.
- Texas Instruments: BODY-drive the high-powered, speedy TravelMate 5300 if you want a state-of-the-art computer with a 1.2GB hard drive and 32MB expandability. Two lower-priced models are the Extensa 570CD and its more powerful sibling, the 570CDT. With 8MB RAM expandable to 40MB, a CD-ROM drive and multimedia capabilities, users can interweave video files, special effects or voice-overs for presentations.
- Toshiba America Information Systems: The world's leading manufacturer of portable notebooks offers seven SVGA models. The basic model in the Satellite 110 series, the 110CT, has a large 11.3-inch screen. The slightly more expensive Satellite Pro 420CDT offers more multimedia features, and the Tecra 500CDT model has superior expansion capabilities. The Portege 650, one of Toshiba's high-end models, is ultraportable and has a frameless 11.3-inch screen.